The Black Diamond Mercury is a great water resistant glove that will keep your hands dry, warm, and working so you can go big when those powder days hit.
Melanie is enjoying the Mercury while riding the lifts all day long. Feel free to bring it with you to the local ice climbing area too! This glove is stacked with tons of insulation on the back of the hand and a little in front for better dexterity and warmth.
We took the Black Diamond Mercury out for a day of ice climbing in Silverton, Colorado, to test it side-by-side with the Outdoor Research Arete. It was snowing hard, it was cold, and we decided to tackle five pitches of pretty fun, but wet ice climbing. On pitch three, we noticed that the hand donning the Mercury was still warm, while the hand donning the Arete gave us frigid fingers. The Mercury features 170g/m3 of PrimaLoft Gold stacked on the back of hand and 100g/m3 on the palm of the hand; we found that this combination kept our hands warm, but not too warm. Having less insulation on the palm is really nice because this is where your hands tend to sweat the most and it provides you with more dexterity. Overall, after a wet day out ice climbing in a white out storm, our right hand was happy to have the Black Diamond Mercury Glove.
The removable liner is stacked with insulation on the back of the hand for awesome warmth and dexterity. The liner wicks water away well, but is a little sticky. Avoid getting it wet though, this glove does not only absorb water, but does not dry out quickly.
The goatskin leather integrated into the palm of this glove makes it waterproof at the palm, but only water resistant through the shell material. When we performed our dunk tests, we found that the Pertex Shield shell with the integrated GORE-TEX liner still allowed water to get through to the liner leaving dampness inside the glove after one minute of being submerged. It absorbed a whopping 3.7 ounces! We weren't really impressed by full water submersion but we did find that in the field they were still water resistant and kept our hands warm. Not the most waterproof of the lot, it also took a very long time for these gloves to dry out - even with the liners removed. As a result, we wouldn't recommend these for multi-day outings.
When putting our hands into the glove after making it wet (to see if the liner wicked or not), we found that it was difficult to get our hands out. The finger in the picture shows trying to get our hand out after biting on the tip of the finger (like most people do). This proved to be a quite difficult task.
The Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's and the Hestra Heli Mitt - Women's are better options if water resistance is at the very top of your list. But if you're just looking for a middle-of-the-road glove, the Black Diamond will do a great job keeping your hands dry for most things winter.
One standout feature of the Mercury was its water resistant liner. None of the other gloves tested had a liner that was as functional to work as a glove on its own, as a result, it scored a few extra points!
The removable liner is water proof with a nylon shell and GORE-TEX insert. It was on the only glove tested with such a highly functioning liner. We loved it, but found that it wasn't that breathable on a skinning day in the mountains.
It's also important to mention that because this has a goatskin leather palm, the leather needs to be treated prior to use and at least once a season to maintain its waterproofing, similar to the Hestra Heli Mitt and the palm of the Outdoor Research Southback - Women's
With more insulation focused on the back of the glove, this allows for more dexterity when working with ropes, switching over your touring system, or just grabbing your ski poles. Even though the Outdoor Research Arete wasn't as warm, it had a little more dexterity because it wasn't as bulky in the fingers (less insulation). In fact, most gloves tested, with the exception of The North Face Montana Glove - Women's had better dexterity than the Black Diamond Mercury. This was due to the high levels of insulation and the thick leather used in its construction. Gloves with a thinner leather like the Arc'teryx Beta AR will typically have more dexterity. That said, the Mercury still allowed us to do all the things we needed to do in the mountains.
Even though this is one one the least dexterous gloves tested, it still performed well when dealing with ropes, removing screws, assembling splitboards, and just playing in general. The lower amount of insulation in the palm increases dexterity, but we think the leather is too thick to be a high performing glove.
This glove had features necessary for any alpinist or mountaineer. They were missing wrist leashes that most gloves had, and we longed after a felt nose wipe. Despite those items, it did have a nifty carabiner loop to clip to your harness. This is really nice so that the gloves don't get turned upside down when clipped on and you can avoid getting snow inside of them.
The carabiner loop on the finger is super helpful on alpine or ski mountaineering missions. This way you can clip your gloves to your harness and avoid getting snow inside.
The removable liner was standout above the crowd. It can be worn alone and has a water resistant outer which is super helpful when you need a liner that doesn't get wet. There have been countless times our testers have gone backcountry skiing and had to use just the liners, fell into the snow for one reason or another, and soaked the insulating piece of their glove. This is a perfect solution to that problem. Good work Black Diamond!
Pictured here is the Mercury used in a comparatively wet ice climbing day. Both gloves are dry. The one on the right shows hard use, while the one of the left shows very little. This was after just one ice climb. We did not treat the glove as directed when receiving it and are showing you why. Had the glove been treated, it would still look more like the one on the left. Make sure to treat all leather gloves at least one to two times a season.
Definitely not the most breathable glove on the market. We thought the fleece liner did a good job at wicking moisture, but when these gloves got soaked, they stayed soaked for a long period of time - inside and out. If you're looking for a warm alternative that doesn't take so long to dry, check out the Outdoor Research Southback.
We tested the breathability of just the liners (the OR Arete is on our right hand) to see which one breathed. In the end, we learned that the BD Mercury wicks moisture well, but does not let it escape readily. As a result our hands were quite warm and we were wishing for a much thinner glove.
The reinforced goatskin leather palm and the additional insulation on the back of the hand gives the Mercury a durability rating of 7/10. Goatskin is a high quality leather that resists cracking and will stay supple for a long period of time if treated properly before and during use. That means that if you buy these gloves you HAVE to treat them for optimal performance. We learned this after we did five pitches of ice climbing with no treatment and noticed that the primary (a little) waterproofing had rubbed off. To avoid this, you - the consumer - must treat them before use. If you do this, you will have a pair of gloves that will last for you many years.
No my fingers aren't that hairy! Here we see the amount of insulation that came off the liner after pulling out a wet hand. This makes us wonder if the liner will eventually pack out and loose warmth over a few more uses.
One concern we had was that the liner bunched during our side-by-side test. When we wet our hand and put it inside the glove, then pulled it out, we noticed insulation all over our fingers. This had us questioning the integrity of the liner material and it makes us curious about losing heat in the future. As a result, the gloves lost a point for durability. Aside from that, the stitching and materials are reinforced nicely and had us sure that these will last for many years to come. If you're looking for the most durable glove that we tested, check out the Arc'teryx Beta AR.
There are many applications for the Mercury including resort skiing, backcountry touring, and most things winter-based. However, we thought these gloves really shined for ascent-oriented activities like ice climbing. This is primarily because of the stacked insulation of the back of the hand which is great for punching through ice and protecting your hands from impact. Also the presence of a carabiner loop and lack of straps is a great complement to anything mountaineering. That said, avoid taking them out on multi-day adventures for fear of the gloves becoming saturated with water and not drying out.
Climbing and ascent-oriented activities are where these gloves really stood out. Though we think that they are versatile and warm enough to wear at the resort and even into the backcountry on cold days.
This is a high-quality glove that offers excellent warmth, versatility, and features. For $140, this it is on the more expensive side of things, but it is also a warmer option than the double constructed Outdoor Research Arete. Since it is not as waterproof as other gloves tested and more expensive than most, we would encourage consumers to look at a better performing and less expensive option like the Outdoor Research Southback - Women's. That said, if you are looking for a warm, double construction glove that you can take ice climbing as well as resort skiing, the Black Diamond Mercury may be the option for you.
The Mercury stands out as a warm, durable ski and mountaineering glove that will keep you warm anywhere you go, whether you are hiking up steeps with your splitboard, chopping away at some ice, or tearing lines through crystal powder at the resort. Just keep in mind it is not the most waterproof, so leave these home on multi-day adventures.
Great features, great warmth, and great coverage. These versatile gloves will get you where you need to go.